Summary: The man who was friendly with God.
1. As his UCLA football team suffered through a poor season in the early 1970s, head coach Pepper Rodgers came under intense criticism and pressure from alumni and fans.Things got so bad, he remembers with a smile, that friends became hard to find. He said, "My dog was my only true friend,"Looking for a little sympathy from his wife, he said, "I told my wife that every man needs at least two good friends—so she bought me another dog."
It is reported that Howard Hughes, when worth approximately 4 billion dollars, said, "I’d give it all for one good friend."
Rodney Dangerfield, Mr. I Don't get No respect, said, "Once I told my old man, ‘Nobody likes me, nobody wants to be my friend.’ He said, ‘Don’t say that—everybody hasn’t met you yet.’
On his deathbed, Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold (1741-1801) was asked if he needed anything. He gasped, "Yes, a friend."
2. Sometimes real friends are hard to come by -Abraham always had such a friend...as so do we!
"7 Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?" 2 Chronicles 20:7
"But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend. Isaiah 41:8
"23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God." James 2:22-23
3. The man who was Friendly with God.
I. FIRST, FRIENDS SHARE THEIR PRESENCE. 18:1-8
A. We have a Clear Revelation.
Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre - The word LORD is Yahweh, a title for deity. Since he appears as a man, "three men" v. 2, this is the Angel of the LORD or an O.T. appearance of Jesus Christ.
The other "two men" were angels - Gen. 19:1.
Trans:The only way to be a friend of God is to go through Jesus Christ. Jn. 14:6
Tony Campolo tells of taking an airplane from California to Philadelphia one stormy night. It was late, but when the man in the next seat learned that Campolo was a Christian, he wanted to talk. The man said, "I believe that going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia, you can get there by airplane, by train, by bus, by automobile. There are many ways to get to Philadelphia. Campolo writes: Tony said, "As we started descending into Philadelphia, the place was fogged in. The wind was blowing, the rain was beating on the plane, and everyone looked nervous and tight. As we were circling in the fog, I turned to the theological expert on my right. "I'm certainly glad the pilot doesn't agree with your theology," I said. "What do you mean?" he asked. "The people in the control booth are giving instructions to the pilot: 'Coming north by northwest, three degrees, you're on beam you're on beam, don't deviate from beam.' I'm glad the pilot's not saying, 'There are many ways into the airport. There are many approaches we can take.' I'm glad he is saying, 'There's only one way we can land this plane, and I'm going to stay with it.'"
There is only way to approach God as a friend and not a foe, is through Jesus Christ.
B. The Common Reaction - just three men!
To the undiscerning eye these wer just three men approaching him. Often because of our carnality we do not recognize the Lord.
Jacob confessed, "Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it." Genesis 28:16
The two on the road to Emmaus were in the very presence of the Risen Lord and did not even recognize Him.
I wonder if we realize that God is right here - in us and with us!
The Parish Priest, of austerity,
Climbed up in the high church steeple
To be nearer God, that he might hand
His word down to the people.
And in sermon script he daily wrote
What he thought was sent from heaven;
And he dropped it down on the people's heads
Two times one day in seven.
In his age God said, "Come down and die."
And he cried out from the steeple:
"Where art thou, Lord?" And the Lord replied:
"Down here among My people. "
C. The Confident Recognition by Abraham.
(1) He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold - v. 2
NET Bible note, "The particle (hinneh) draws attention to what he saw. The drawn-out description focuses the reader's attention on Abraham's deliberate, fixed gaze and indicates that what he is seeing is significant."
(2) ran (v.2)...hurried...Quickly make...(v.6)...ran (v.7) - when you consider that this is in the heat of the day (v.1) and he is nearly 100 years old, it reveals that he did not view these as ordinary men.